Spring (football) is in the air

There is a familiar old saying that suggests if you do what you love for a living then you will never work a day in your life. To play off of that idea I believe that if you follow a sport you love then there will never be an off-season. Such is the case for college football fans, who can arrange a calendar around the activities tied to a football program.

You have your regular season and bowl season of course. In between we are treated by awards season. Leading up to the season we get our sneak peak with conference and school media days from coast to coast, which is usually around the time of year all of our favorite preview magazines hit the shelves at the grocery store. After the final games have been played and a champion has been crowned we get a handful of all-star games and shift our focus to the NFL Draft, a time when we officially say good bye to our favorite stars from the past four years and wish them well.

Of course, before that there is spring football.

It is amazing to me just how much coverage and time we devote to spring football. It really is! As a fan I used to only really care about the spring game. Whatever happened leading up to that was either unknown barring significant injuries, or just unnecessary to me. Truthfully much of that sentiment remains unchanged for me, but I now see that coverage of spring football is as important as it has ever been. Or is it just more in demand than ever before?

Social networking and increasing emphasis on Internet reporting has created a demand for more information as quickly as possible. I understand it. I have to understand it. Fans follow their favorite teams today like never before, which means a craving for information regarding their favorite program on a more frequent basis – daily, hourly, up to the minute – is becoming larger and larger. As demand has increased the competition to provide the most complete and insightful coverage has resulted in more and more from the various media types, from newspapers taking to the web to recruiting outlets and the blogosphere. Depending on your favorite team, the information flowing your way can at times be a little overbearing. After all, how many times do you have to hear a story on who is competing for that coveted back-up quarterback position. AS MANY TIMES AS I CAN! Very well then!

Braxton Miller, Sports IllustratedSpring football has not only become an easier part of the sport to follow, but it has become almost as important to our sports calendar as anything else. Even Sports Illustrated understands this, as evidenced by this week’s regional covers featuring Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney.

If you have been a reader of Sports Illustrated you be familiar with their recent trend of having a college basketball collage leading up to the NCAA basketball tournaments. It has been fantastic, and this week’s cover reveals plays off of that while demonstrating just how significant spring football is.

Think about it. College basketball’s regular season is winding down. The NBA is in to the second half of the season. The NHL’s shortened season brings a different sense of excitement on the ice. The NFL Scouting Combine just wrapped up. Baseball is in spring training and the cover this week features two of college football’s biggest starts not named Johnny Manziel. In late February.

Spring football is just that big, there is no disputing this anymore. What I enjoy most about spring football is the escape we collectively are given from NCAA sanction news and updates (fear not, for they will be there waiting for us in May) and how it allows fans of every team to feel a sense of optimism about their teams.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse move in to the ACC this year and nothing will stop them from thinking about establishing a winning tradition in their new conference home now.

Georgia is replacing ten defensive starters? So what! This is the year for the Dawgs!

Southern Mississippi lost every game last year, but the page turns now for the Golden Eagles!

You get the idea. This is one of the reasons I love spring training in baseball. Every year starts with a clean slate, and that extends to college football’s rite of passage each spring. Every player feels like a starter. Every starter feels like an All-American. Every body is in good shape, the best of their lives. Every bone is healed, every muscle is feeling good.

And every coach thinks his team is a long way from being competitive. Those wet blanket head coaches…

Some spring football practice schedules have already commenced, and tomorrow Nebraska and Georgia are just a couple of the latest to get started. As the month progresses more camps will open up, assuring us by the end of March we will be drowning in spring football. But would we want it any other way?

Of course not.

About the author

Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com and managing editor of Crystal Ball Run. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.